Dudes with Eczema: Jeff Ten Broeck
The Editorial Team at AtopicDermatitis.net wanted to get a different perspective on what it’s like to live with eczema. We reached out to our male advocates to find out what it’s like to live with eczema as a man. Here’s what Jeff had to say:
Male eczema vs. female eczema
What is it like to be a guy who lives with eczema?
It’s challenging to be a guy (or anyone for that matter!) living with eczema. There are many things I must do on a daily basis to maintain my health. I suffer the consequences if I don’t.
Are there any differences between being a man or being a woman living with eczema?
As a whole, we all experience the same flares and skin related anxiety associated with eczema. It’s how those challenges present themselves that account for any differences that may exist between the genders. One of my female friends has told me that a fluctuation of hormones can create a host of eczema problems that men don’t experience.
Shaving with eczema
Do you find it irritating when shaving (before, during, after)?
To be honest, I don’t shave a whole lot these days (I like to rock a beard). But back when I did, I remember it being an unpleasant experience. The razor would always scrape against dry skin on my face and the emerging facial hair irritated my skin. Needless to say, I never used aftershave.
Do you have any advice for shaving with eczema?
My advice—if you’re going to shave, try using an electric razor. The shave won't be as close but you won’t experience any discomfort.
Eczema, self-image, and society
How does eczema impact your self-image?
I’ve found that eczema has the ability to tear down my confidence. It can be difficult to put my best foot forward when my skin hurts and my face is completely broken out. At times, I feel like others are fixated on my appearance but deep down I know that may not be the case.
Have you ever been bullied or treated differently because of eczema?
Yes, I have. The bulk of the bullying I’ve experienced came as an elementary student. There have been some additional instances scattered in over the years, but it had less of an impact on my self-esteem because I had developed the tools to deal with those situations in a productive way.
Is there anything you wish people knew?
I wish that others would be more understanding and respectful of my condition. The random inquiries from strangers about my skin can be frustrating but I try to use those opportunities as a teaching moment.
Have you taken our In America Survey yet?